Friday, August 20, 2010

Too Ignorant to Ignore!

I rarely post regarding political issues, but this is just too crazy not to comment on. Poetically crazy perhaps.

Apparently nearly one in five people in the US, or 18 percent, believe Obama is Muslim. That was up from 11 percent who said so in March 2009. The survey also showed that just 34 percent said Obama is Christian, down from 48 percent who said so last year. The largest share of people, 43 percent, said they don't know his religion.

I will try to believe those figures illustrate American gullibility to right wing propaganda, tendency toward confirmation bias (i.e., they always suspected it!), rather than complete and utter ignorance.

Of course, many Israelis I speak with (and most of them well educated) also believe Obama is Muslim. No stats here, but I actually believe the percentage might be higher. So ignorance extends beyond America's shores.

Many of these people dislike Obama for other reasons (political party, race, and even a few for his policies). On the Israeli side, the dislike is rooted in his refusal to provide blanket support for all Israeli policies. That they equate this dislike with being Muslim, I suspect, also reflects innate bigotry on their part regarding the Islamic faith. I.e., UnAmerican = Muslim or AntiIsraeli = Muslim.

Anyway, just for the record, Barack Obama is a Christian, and announced in June 2009 that his primary place of worship would be the Evergreen Chapel at Camp David. Merely attending school that is nominally Muslim in Indonesia does not make one Muslim. FYI, in Indonesia, Obama attended a Catholic school for two years (ages 6-8) and then a public school for two years (ages 8-10); in an interview, the head of the Indonesian public school said they are secular and have Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim students. To be considered a Muslim by the community, there must be an adult profession of faith, the recitation of the shahadah (declaration of faith) and that must be done with adult Muslims present. Barack Obama has not met these conditions, thus he is not a Muslim. Furthermore, he’s been baptized and regularly attended church his entire life, was married in a Christian ceremony, raises his kids as Christians, and he continues to confess his faith in Jesus Christ as his savior, which no Muslim will ever profess. And I certainly think the intensive news coverage would have picked up if Obama had performed any Muslim practices.

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